Creative, tasty meals at Basque Ogi Deli in Elko, Nevada
When you’re driving along Interstate 80 across frequently spectacular yet periodically desolate Nevada desert, eatery choices can be, well, less than inviting. So when we first found this amazing deli in Elko – now called Ogi Deli, but it was “2 Dames and a Deli” when we discovered it – we were utterly delighted.
We were driving from Northern California to Salt Lake City and were seeking oh please someplace, please, anyplace, to find a somewhat healthy, creative, tasty lunch. The name grabbed us then and it still grabs us. The deli had to be good with a name with this kind of attitude that was something other than “John’s Deli” or “TJ’s Sandwich Shop,” right? Normally, what you find in no-man’s Nevada towns is kinda white bread, canned, frozen and chain after chain. It’s bad news when you get excited about a Subway.
Ogi Deli our regular stop
Well, my traveling friends, Ogi Deli is now our regular stop when cruising across Interstate 80. Inside, you’ll find a whole team of “dames” (yes, it’s still a superior team of bubbly, eager friendly women) ready and willing to feed you from a fantastically yummy menu of salads, sandwiches, panini and an array of seasonal homemade items.
Specials? Think fresh roasted tomato bisque in the summer. Or fresh roasted green chili peppers on salads or wraps. Produce is fresh, and the chicken on a salad or sandwich has never dreamed of getting anywhere near a can.
Anamarie Lopatequi acquired the deli from the prior “dames” in March 2015 and added some of her Basque heritage to the business – Ogi (“Oh-gee”) is short for Ogia, which means bread, and is short for “Ogitartekoak,” which she explained means in Basque something like “building a structure on bread.” Those are the sandwiches with special Basque ingredients like Jamon (specialy dry-cured ham) and marinated pork loin. Take a look at the current menu to get your taste buds going.
Catering to Elko’s needs
She is from Nevada and her husband from the area. We noted a table full of pre-packed white lunch bags at Ogi that she would add sandwiches to in the morning, and then would head out to a mine. Catering is a big part of what they do there now.
As long as we’ve known the Ogi Deli it’s been in a non-descript, boxy building that is more reminiscent of a large storage shed, on a side street where the neighbors are a tire shop, a rather dingy motel and a fast food joint. We were told that would change in late 2016 with a move from 11th street to a building on Commercial Street (460, to be exact) that will place her more on the beaten path. That’s a good thing since in the last year a new strip of buildings on the main drag has a chain sandwich shop we hope won’t keep people from Ogi Deli’s door.
Until 2017, the HI Travel Tales team got there about once a year and looked forward to it for the 11 months in between. And although it was only once a year, the team still remembered us each visit. Trust us though, friendly hospitality is dished out to everyone, not just travel writers with a camera. Plus, there are several employees that have been there for years, and former employees that still come in for lunch.
Thank you, new “dames,” for a bright spot in the desert!
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